Blog: Reflections on a decade of community volunteering

29 Mar, 2022
Our outgoing Vice-Chair Amy Harrison has been a community campaigner for Easton and Lawrence Hill for a decade - here she shares some reflections on her time as an active citizen and charity trustee.

They say it takes a village (community) to raise a child. When I had my daughter 10 years ago, like many, I didn’t have family nearby to help and I realised that I wanted to contribute to our local community to help create the village my daughter would need as she grew. Our neighbourhood is wonderful and unique in many ways, but as with many inner-city communities, it has its challenges. Becoming a mother motivated me to help tackle the inequalities experienced by our community.

It all started with a campaign to get the then dangerous and desolate Brook Street Park refurbished, to provide a safe space for local children. Up Our Street then asked me to become a trustee – a role I’ve learned so much from over the years and it’s been a privilege to play a part in an organisation that is a part of the essential ‘glue’ which helps hold our community together.

There’s always been plenty of work to be done – nine years ago there was a crisis in primary school places and literally nowhere for local children to go. As a group of local parents, we developed a community vision and worked hard with the council to get a
new school built. Eight years on and Redfield Educate Together Primary has nurtured seven-year groups of local children, and I’m glad to have played my part as a Governor in the early years. For the last 5 years, as BS5 Secondary Forum, we have also fought for the much-needed Oasis Temple Quarter Secondary School – a decision which (at the time of writing) is currently dependent on a government planning appeal.

Finding the time and energy to commit to community organisations and campaigns as a volunteer isn’t always easy (especially as a busy working parent) but as we emerge from Covid there is so much that needs to be done and fought for. Communities like ours need local people to get involved. So if you have some time, skills or energy that you’re willing to share – go for it. If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown us, it’s that we need our community – but our community also needs us.

by Amy Harrison

Amy Harrison

Amy receiving a Lord Mayor’s Medal for voluntary service to her local community (nominated by Up Our Street)

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